Joe “King” Krol was a six-time Grey Cup champion and one of the most dynamic and versatile football stars in the history of the Canadian game. One of the Toronto Argonauts’ celebrated “Gold Dust Twins,” he was named to the CFL club’s All-Time Team in 1996.
Born in Hamilton on February 20, 1919, Krol attended Kennedy Collegiate Institute in Windsor, where he gained prominence as a football, basketball, and track star. On the gridiron, he was named to the WSSA All-City First Team in 1936 and 1937 as the Clippers won back-to-back WSSA and WOSSA titles. In the process, the dominant team stitched together a 19-game undefeated record.
During his high school years, Krol accumulated a total of 28 track and field medals across a laundry list of events that included hurdles, high jump, broad jump, pole vault, javelin, discus, and the 880-yard relay. He won 10 gold medals, 2 silvers, and 1 bronze in WSSA competitions, and 10 goals, 3 silvers, and 2 bronzes at the WOSSA level. Krol set WSSA records in broad jump (2) and high jump (2), and WOSSA records in broad jump (2) and the hop-step-and-jump event (1). At both meets, Krol won two overall Senior titles and one Intermediate title as an individual.
After graduation, Krol attended the University of Western Ontario, where he was an integral part of the Mustangs’ undefeated 1939 championship team in the Senior Intercollegiate League. Krol was selected to the Canadian Press and Eastern Canadian All-Star Teams. He was an original inductee into Western’s “W” Club Athletic Hall of Fame in 1978.
Krol went on to a long and illustrious career in Canada’s burgeoning professional football league. In 1943, he led the Hamilton Wildcats of the ORFU to Grey Cup victory, defeating Winnipeg RCAF 23-14. He proceeded to play eight years in the CFL with the Toronto Argonauts, excelling as a “triple-threat” punter, passer, and kicker. With the Argos, Krol won five further Grey Cups, in 1945, 1946, 1947, 1950, and 1952.
During the 1940s, Krol and star running back Royal Copeland constituted the most powerful one-two punch in Canadian football. The two were often collectively referred to as the “Gold Dust Twins,” a reference to a popular commercial brand of washing powder that originated in the 1890s.
For a time in the 1940s, Krol was considered to be the “monarch” of Canadian football. He was a four-time Big Four All-Star as a running back, in 1945 through 1948. In 1946, Krol won the Jeff Russel Memorial Trophy as Big Four MVP and the Lou Marsh and Lionel Conacher Trophies as Canada’s top athlete. He won a second Lou Marsh Trophy in 1947.
He belongs as an honoured member to Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame, the Canadian Football Hall of Fame, and the Ontario Sports Legends Hall of Fame.
In the winter of 2008, Krol passed away in Toronto at the age of 89.